PATRICK Bamford says Derby County’s attacking style was what first attracted him to the club.
Bamford joined the Rams on loan from Chelsea at the turn of the year, having spent the first half of the season with League One side MK Dons.
The 20-year-old striker was much in demand but in the end he opted for Derby – the Championship’s top scorers.
The Rams’ tactics were questioned after they let a two-goal lead slip in Saturday’s 3-3 draw with Birmingham City.
But Bamford is a fan of the positive approach.
“The way Derby play football and their attacking style was one of the reasons I chose to come here, to be honest,” said the England Under-21 international.
“That suited me and it’s evident when you watch the team how many attacking players they have on the pitch.
“It’s good to be involved in.”
Bamford has hit four goals in his last four games for the Rams, taking his tally for the season to 21 (17 for MK Dons).
He came off the bench to score the winner against Brighton & Hove Albion at the iPro Stadium before popping up with a late equaliser away to Blackburn Rovers.
In the next game, his diving header sparked a second-half comeback by the Rams against Yeovil Town, and he levelled at Birmingham less than 60 seconds after Brian Howard had put the home side ahead.
The former Nottingham Forest forward is targeting double figures for Steve McClaren’s side.
“I’ve targeted 10 goals (for Derby) before the end of the season,” he said. “If I start to get close, maybe I’ll reassess that but I’m sticking with it for now.
“In this side, you know you’re going to get chances.
“I’m loving it. I always want to push on and test myself – and the Championship is doing that at the minute.”
So, will his form in the Championship catch the eye of Chelsea supremo Jose Mourinho?
“Hopefully, we’ll see,” said Bamford.
RICHARD Keogh is hoping his form for Derby County can earn him a Republic of Ireland recall under new manager Martin O’Neill.
The Rams skipper currently has two senior international caps to his name.
He made his debut last year as a late substitute in a friendly victory over Poland.
The defender was then handed his first start for Ireland in June – and scored in a 4-0 win against Georgia.
However, Keogh has not featured since then.
He was left out of the friendlies against Latvia and Poland in November.
O‘Neill took charge of those matches but the squad was chosen by Noel King, who was caretaker manager following the departure of Giovanni Trapattoni.
O‘Neill will choose his first squad ahead of next month’s friendly against Serbia ion Dublin – and Keogh is vying for a place, along with Derby team-mates Jeff Hendrick and Conor Sammon.
“I’ve had a brief chat with the new manager, so I’m excited about hopefully being back involved,” said the former Coventry City centre-back.
“I think my form has been good this season – and Derby are doing well.
“When you’re near that top of the league, that gives you a better opportunity.
“As long as I can keep playing well for Derby, hopefully I can get back in the Ireland squad.”
Keogh is back in the Derby side after recovering from a knee ligament injury which forced him to miss five matches.
“I felt my form was good before I got injured and I’ve just carried on where I left off since coming back,” he said.
“I had a good, solid first season at Derby and I feel I’ve improved as a player this season.
“Hopefully, that has shown in where the team is and how I’m performing.”